Earlier today, we noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal's staff is not very eager to discuss the fact that he is partnering with the American Family Association for his upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, which is not very surprising considering that the AFA is an anti-gay hate group notorious for the unrelenting stream of bigotry that it produces.
Naturally, Bryan Fischer, the primary source of that bigotry, is angry that people are now trying to "torpedo" Jindal's prayer rally by highlighting the fact that the governor is partnering with the AFA and a bunch of other anti-gay activists, announcing on his radio program today that he will refuse to comment on his well-documented history of making outrageous statements until after the prayer event.
"If the media contacts us and it's in connection with this prayer event," Fischer said, "and we discover that the only reason they're talking to us is that it's in connection with this thing called 'The Response,' I think my response is going to be 'I'll be happy to talk to you this on January 26,'" which is the Monday after Jindal's prayer event.
"We don't want anything to distract from this event," he continued. "Our nation is in crisis. The need of the hour is prayer ... This event is about prayer and calling the nation to prayer [but the media's] only interest is in trying to stir up trouble and create some kind of outrage against this event by trying to make AFA look bad":
Of course, the only thing making the AFA "look bad" is Fischer and the AFA.
Fischer's reaction to this criticism of Jindal's rally is actually something of an improvement considering that when Gov. Rick Perry was getting hammered for partnering with the AFA for his "The Response" prayer rally back in 2011, Fischer responded by complaining that he was the victim of a hate crime.
As we noted the other day, organizers for Gov. Bobby Jindal's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally released a prayer guide blaming natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on God’s apparent displeasure with the "alternative lifestyle" of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.
Not surprisingly, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that prayer guide has now be scrubbed from The Response's website. Equally unsurprising is the reluctance by those in Jindal's office to comment on the long history of unmitigated bigotry regularly spewed by the American Family Association, which just so happens to be the main sponsor of his prayer rally:
Are legal abortion and same-sex marriage leading to more disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Does the First Amendment only protect Christian religious expression?
Next month, Gov. Bobby Jindal is bringing a mass prayer event to LSU's campus sponsored by a conservative Christian group that has espoused controversial views on a number of issues, including the causes of Hurricane Katrina.
The American Family Association (AFA), based out of Mississippi, has weighed in on everything from homosexuality to Eric Garner -- the man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. They are paying for Jindal's mass prayer event at LSU, called The Response, in January.
"I haven't looked at their website, so you will need to talk to them about it. Here's what we do know...our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful, and He answers prayer. That is why we are asking people to come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th and pray for revival," said Shannon Bates, Jindal's deputy communications manager, in a written statement about the organization.
"This is a prayer meeting -- not a political rally. One thing that most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing," Bates said.
The AFA implied -- in a prayer guide originally distributed in connection with Jindal's January rally -- that there is a direct link between the rising approval of same-sex marriage and abortion in the United States and events like Hurricane Katrina.
The prayer guide -- which appeared to be a few years old and outdated -- was pulled from The Response's website Friday (Dec. 12).
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer interviewed Caiden Cowger, a sixteen-year-old radio host who had his fifteen minutes of fame a couple of years ago when he claimed that "Obama is making kids gay." Cowger has been peddling a story to the right-wing media about an incident that occurred after a LGBT club was formed at his high school and Christian students were allegedly "forced to attend" a meeting.
In introducing Cowger, Fischer warned that the push for equality represents the "greatest threat" to liberty that America has ever faced.
"The homosexual agenda represents the greatest single threat to religious liberty we have ever seen in the history of our existence as a nation," he declared. "In fact, it's the greatest threat to liberty of all kinds, whether it is freedom of religion, whether it is freedom of speech, whether it is freedom of the press, whether it is freedom of association, all of the rights that are enshrined in the First Amendment are threatened by the active, aggressive homosexual lobby and the homosexual agenda":
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is continuing his defense of the CIA's use of torture, writing today that liberals "would drag the Bible’s heroes before the courts at Nuremberg and charge them with crimes against humanity" and suggesting on his radio program that Jesus would support the use of torture in a time of war.
Fischer argued on his radio program today that the Bible makes certain things permissible during times of war that would not be permissible during times of peace, adding that Jesus is a "warrior" who would probably approve of torture.
"Christianity is not a pacifist religion," Fischer said. "The God that we serve is described in Exodus 15 as a 'man of war.' Now we often think of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, but let's not forget, according to Romans 19:13, when he comes back ... he will be riding a white horse and wearing his own robe, dipped in blood. That is a robe that is worn by a warrior who is inflicting casualties on the foe. So this is gentle Jesus, meek and mild; when we comes back, his robe is going to be dipped in blood because he too is a warrior":
On Friday's "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Gordon Klingenschmitt was trying to make the case that male-on-male sexual assault in the military has increased as a result of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and, in doing so, pointed to former Petty Officer Third Class Brian Lewis, who testified last year about having been assaulted when he served in the Navy.
Of course, the assault against Lewis took place back in 2000, more than a decade before DADT was repealed, so we are not sure how that helps to prove Klingenschmitt's point. Nonetheless, he demanded that the military reinstate DADT in order to push gay people "back in the closet, especially if they're so flagrant that they want to violate one another when they're openly serving":
For some reason, Klingenschmitt also decided to take a shot at Right Wing Watch, accusing us of misquoting the Bible in a post we wrote back in July in which we responded to a statement that he had made when he said that Islam was a demonic religion because it required women who were raped to marry their attackers.
We pointed out that, according to Deuteronomy 22:28-29, the Bible also contained such a requirement, but now Klingenschmitt is accusing us of leveling "false accusations" against the Bible by misquoting and "twisting" it.
Citing Deuteronomy 22: 25-26, Klingenschmitt claims that the Bible requires rapists to be put to death, which he asserts proves that we are lying:
But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death
The verse Klingenschmitt cited only applies to a man who rapes a woman who is pledged to be married, while the very next passage says that if the woman is a virgin who is not pledged to be married, then her rapist must marry her:
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
It seems that the only person who is "twisting the Scriptures" here is Klingenschmitt.
When Texas Governor Rick Perry was gearing up to run for president the last time around, he decided to kick things off by headlining a large right-wing prayer rally organized by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, and David Lane, a secretive Religious Right organizer and Christian nationalist, called The Response. But rather than propelling him into the White House, the event became infamous mostly for the scores of radical figures with whom Perry had chosen to align himself.
Over the weekend, organizers posted videos featuring several Religious Right activists urging conservative Christians to attend the event, including invitations from folks like Tamara Scott, Jennifer LeClaire, Jim Garlow, E.W. Jackson, and Cindy Jacobs:
On Friday, the AFA's Bryan Fischer also noted that he would be in attendance at the event and providing broadcast coverage, and there is quite possibly no other figure within the "mainstream" Religious Right movement today who can match him in terms of consistently unadulterated bigotry.
Gov. Jindal does not seem to have learned any lessons from the first Response rally and, if anything, remarkably seems quite intent on surrounding himself with the same group of radical Religious Right activists that made the last one so notorious.
The infusion of big money into our democracy is helping to perpetuate racial inequalities, according to a report released yesterday by Demos. As we have seen in recent election cycles, the most aggressive and influential political donors are overwhelmingly white and affluent, paving the way for elected officials to be beholden to a donor class and far less concerned about the needs of most Americans.
While the economic biases of money in politics are clear, the report, called “Stacked Deck: How the Racial Bias in Our Big Money Political System Undermines Our Democracy and Our Economy,” also highlights some unsettling information on how elections dominated by wealthy special interests impede efforts for a more racially diverse and responsive political system:
Elections funded primarily by wealthy, white donors mean that candidates as a whole are less likely to prioritize the needs of people of color; and that candidates of color are less likely to run for elected office, raise less money when they do, and are less likely to win. Ultimately, people of color are not adequately represented by elected officials.
• A recent study of black candidate success concluded that “the underrepresentation of blacks is driven by constraints on their entry onto the ballot” and that the level of resources in the black community is “an important factor for shaping the size of the black candidate pool.”
• Candidates of color raised 47 percent less money than white candidates in 2006 state legislative races, and 64 percent less in the South.
• Latino candidates for state House raised less money than non-Latinos in 67 percent of the states where Latinos ran in the 2004 election cycle.
• In a typical election cycle, 90 percent or more of the candidates who raise the most money win their races.
• Ninety percent of our elected leaders are white, despite the fact that people of color are 37 percent of the U.S. population.
• In a 2011 study, researchers found that white state legislators of both major political parties were less likely to reply to letters received from assumed constituents with apparently African American names (like “DeShawn Jackson”).
Tellingly, a governing body that skews heavily white also creates policies that can have detrimental impacts on racial minorities. The report also compiled case studies that demonstrate how big money disrupts progress on racial equality on a variety of issues, including:
• Private Prisons and Incarceration. Incarceration in the U.S. has increased by 500 percent over the past three decades, with people of color vastly over-represented in our nation’s prisons and jails. This is the result of policies that have put more people in jail for longer sentences despite dropping crime rates, policies boosting the bottom line of the growing private prison industry.
• The Subprime Lending Crisis. Because of rampant discriminatory lending practices, the subprime-lending crisis hit people of color especially hard. Banks and other mortgage lenders used millions of dollars of political contributions and lobbying to weaken and circumvent consumer-friendly regulations, resulting in the largest loss of wealth in communities of color in American history.
• The Minimum Wage. The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant, losing real value over the past several decades. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would lift more than 3.5 million workers of color out of poverty, but Congress has instead prioritized policies favored by the wealthy.
As money continues to dominate the process by which we elected public officials, our government moves further away from the true definition of a democracy and continue to serve only a very narrow segment of Americans.
Bryan Fischer continued his vigorous defense of the CIA's use of torture on his radio program today, explaining quite succinctly that had Islamic terrorists not carried out the 9/11 attacks, the United States never would have been forced to engage in practices such as rectal rehydration.
"The culpability and the blame and the accountability for every last bit of the enhanced interrogation techniques rests on the Muslims who were responsible for 9/11," he said. "If you're looking for somebody to blame for waterboarding and sleep deprivation and rectal rehydration, look no further than the Muslims who were responsible for 9/11. They made those enhanced interrogation techniques necessary."
"No 9/11, no waterboarding," Fischer explained. "No 9/11, no Gitmo. No 9/11, no rectal rehydration":
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer once again defended the CIA's use of torture against terrorism suspects by arguing that the techniques utilized by the CIA do not actually constitute torture ... but even if they were it would still be acceptable because terrorism suspects have no legal right not to be tortured.
As Fischer explained, foreign terrorism suspects have no constitutional rights since they are not U.S. citizens, nor do they have any rights under the Geneva Conventions, which means that the U.S. faces no legal prohibition against torturing them.
"They have absolutely no legal rights that they can claim anywhere," Fischer said. "So whatever treatment we give them, if there is any mercy involved in it, they have no right to that; that is simply because we are a merciful people who are driven by Christian principles":
After a federal court struck down North Carolina's ban on gay marriage in October, several magistrates in the state voluntarily left office rather than perform gay marriages and Mat Staver and Matt Barber are not happy about it, using their "Faith and Freedom" radio program today to call upon anti-gay government officials to "stand their ground" by refusing to follow the law ... just like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.
"What would have happened," Barber asked, "if Martin Luther King, Jr. had just stood down and said, 'No, I can't participate in all of this, I'm just going to remain silent, I'm going to resign and go on my way'"?
Instead, he said, magistrates should stay in their positions and tell the government "you're going to have to come after me, you're going to have to fire me, you're going to have to jail me."
"This is about civil rights," Barber said and Staver readily agreed, saying that America is undergoing "a civil rights revolution."
"But it's not the homosexual agenda," Staver said, "because you can't elevate sexually immoral behavior to the level of race or religious freedom as a civil right. It has been historically condemned as immoral, it has been historically, throughout western civilization, been considered a crime against nature. The fact of the matter is you can't take something that has been so historically thought of and elevate it to this preferred level and then force everyone to applaud it without resistance."
More and more Americans, Staver said, are realizing that this "intolerant agenda" must be stopped: "This is not America. This is not freedom. This is totalitarianism."
"Homosexuality is a moral wrong," Barber added, "so this is the next civil rights movement here and it's an anti-Christian attack, systemic, government-organized and facilitated attacks against freedom of religious expression and Christians":
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer was defending the "right" of the Creationist group Answers in Genesis to discriminate based on religion when hiring for its taxpayer-subsidized Noah's Ark theme park in Kentucky when he got sidetracked and began demanding that if public schools are going to teach about homosexuality, they should be required to start with Sodom and Gomorrah.
For some reason, Fischer brought up California's 2011 requirement that school districts include the contributions of gays and lesbians in their history curricula and then demanded that any such lesson plan begin with Sodom and Gomorrah.
"I will support you teaching homosexuality in California's public schools on the condition that you start with Sodom and Gomorrah," he said. "If you want to teach gay history in your public schools, then you've got to teach gay history. Gay history starts with Sodom and Gomorrah, so if you start there, you can teach all the gay history that you want":
Pastor Robert Jeffress was a guest on AFA's "Today's Issues" program this morning where he voiced his offense at a joke about Jesus made recently by the host of the NPR game show "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!," saying that such attacks on Christianity should not come as a surprise considering that our society is "under Satan's control."
"There's not just only a war on Christmas, there's a war on Christianity," Jeffress said. "It began two thousand years ago when Herod tried to kill Christ and it's been continuing ever since then ... There is a kingdom of God and there is a kingdom of Satan, of light and darkness that are at war with one another and this world system is under Satan's control, at least temporarily."
Jeffress went on to say that the fact that it is "open season on Christianity while every other world religion is treated with respect" is proof that Christianity is true.
"The Bible teaches that the Gospel is an offense to people," he explained, "and I think we can point out to unbelievers, you know, the fact that Christianity is singled out for attack probably gives validity to the authenticity of the Christian faith":
The Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin and phony former terrorist Kamal Saleem were interviewed on Glenn Beck's television program last night by fill-in host Stu Burguiere about the new novel they wrote together entitled "The Coalition."
During the course of the interview, the topic of the recently released report documenting the CIA's use of torture came up and all three men dismissed the findings entirely, with Burguiere mocking the notion that sleep deprivation or forced nudity could be considered torture, while Saleem laughably asserted that he had been trained as a terrorist from the age of seven on how to decapitate people, so the techniques employed by the CIA were modest in comparison.
Not to be outdone, Boykin declared that "this report came from a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites" and said that the real "torture" was the supposed persecution by the IRS of conservative groups.
"I'll tell you what's torture," Boykin said, "torture is what we've done to the veterans at the VA hospitals. Torture is what we've done by having the IRS go after conservative groups":
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber were discussing what they contend is a link between abortion and breast cancer. While this claim is a favorite of the anti-choice movement, it is disputed by the likes of the American Cancer Society, which says that "scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer."
Nonetheless, Barber and Staver are quite sure that such a link exists because it is only natural for a "sin" like abortion to carry with it deadly consequences.
"Scripture talks about the wages of sin is death," Barber said. "It strikes me that abortion is a sin, abortion is absolutely a sin, so the natural consequence of an unnatural behavior of going in an killing an unborn baby in the mother's womb therefore wreaking havoc, killing the child, that is a sin and the wages of sin there, the natural consequence of that havoc that has been wreaked here is an increased risk of breast cancer."
When Barber sought to clarify that he was not saying that breast cancer is God's way of punishing women who have had abortions, Staver stepped in to say that having an abortion was no different than ingesting poison.
"You take strychnine or you take some kind of poison into your body, you have to expect that there's going to be consequences," Staver said. "It's an obvious natural consequence to an act, a choice that someone makes":
Continuing the theme from yesterday's radio program, Glenn Beck spent a good portion of today's show once again fuming that America is allowing God to be openly mocked, citing an incident in Florida where local elected officials walked out of a commission meeting when an atheist was invited to deliver the invocation.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that government meetings can be opened with prayer so long as there is no discrimination about who may give them, but Beck obviously disagrees with that position as he was absolutely livid that the atheist speaker used the opportunity to mock belief in God, declaring that "we are a nation that will destroy themselves" if we allow this sort of thing to continue.
After warning atheists that they should not be mocking God just based on the fact that they could be wrong about God's existence, Beck demanded to know "since when do we have to get snarky in our city council meetings at the moment of prayer?"
"We are a nation that will destroy themselves," he warned. "I promise you, in time we will all regret this. If we turn our back on the giver of all that is good, we will regret it":
Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, infamous for his virulently anti-gay preaching and open calls for gays to be put to death, seems to have found at least one acolyte eager to help him spread his message.
In August, Anderson ordained Pastor Donnie Romero, who then established Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, where he preached the message last Sunday that all gays should "be put to death."
Romero says that if he ever goes "soft on sin," he hopes that his children will call him out and tell him to "get up there and rip on these queers because it's only getting worse and worse."
"I'm not going to let any of these dirty faggots inside my church," Romero said. "They are all pedophiles ... They're always trying to rape and hurt other people. They're relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat":
The AFA's Bryan Fischer was predictably outraged by the release of the Senate report on the CIA's use of torture ... not by the torture itself, mind you, but rather by the release of the report detailing it, fuming on his radio program yesterday that the Democrats only released the report to be "petty" and "juvenile."
"They just got voted out of office," he said. "This was their last chance to poke a finger in the eye of President Bush. I mean, they're like juvenile delinquents; they've been occupying this house, sitting in this house, they've just been evicted from the house, they're going to have to vacate the house on January 1. They're going to have to get out of there January 1 and so they're like juvenile delinquents that decide we're going to trash this place on the way out the door. We don't like the fact that we're going to have to vacate the premises January 1 so we are going to do as much damage on the way out the door as we possibly can":
After fuming that "it is not brave" for people to mock Christianity, Beck took a moment to attack "Saturday Night Live" as "the biggest group of pussies on the planet" for supposedly refusing to adequately mock President Obama, before he got back to venting his displeasure over this particular "Family Guy" episode.
"Every great, truly great, freeing act was inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ," Beck declared. "Why would we take down just that man? Why would we make him into a joke? Out of all of the people you can joke about, all of the things you could do and did we sit here as a nation and laugh as he was mocked. Why not just put him up at the pillar again? Why not just whip him and beat him? Why not just publicly humiliate him? Why not just tear his clothing from him, spit on him, and when he asks for water, we give him vinegar?"
"Father, forgive them," Beck concluded, "they know not what they do":
Last week, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins appeared on the "Point Of View" radio program to discuss his participation in the marriage conference hosted by the Vatican in November, saying that the event has convinced him that the Religious Right will win the fight against gay marriage in America because "we're on the side of the one who wrote history."
After predicting that President Obama "more than any president in the history of this country, will be recorded in history as undermining the culture and the fabric and foundation of this country," Perkins likened the Vatican event to receiving a motivational pep talk during halftime at a football game, declaring that anti-gay activists are now "ready to go back out on the field and win the game."
"This was a moment to step back and get it into perspective of world history, human history, and say 'you know what? We are on the winning side,'" Perkins said. "This idea that we're on the wrong side of history; no, we're on the side of the one who wrote history and we will prevail in this":